Sunday, September 2, 2012

Cubify Client - Important Update

Thank Cube owner Chris Crowley for this one.

He alerted me in an email to an important new feature in the latest update to the Cubify Client software.  I'm as excited to see it as he was!

Previously, the only file types that we could upload into the Cubify Client were .CREATION and .STL files.  We can now IMPORT a THIRD file type into the Cubify Client!!  And, that is a .CUBE file.

.CUBE File Type Added to IMPORT.

And, the importance of this is that, for the first time, we can visualize supports before we print them!

This is no small thing.  Supports are sometimes a necessary thing in printing an object with our Cube.  But, you already know how much I hate them and do my best to avoid needing supports if at all possible.  Being able to see, beforehand, how supports might be generated, BEFORE printing, is going to be very helpful in making design AND LAYOUT decisions.

I've created an .STL file that demonstrates why I say this.

Design & Layout Comparison Drawing

The above image shows essentially the same FUNCTIONAL part in two different design configurations and two different print orientations.  The only difference between the parts is that in one, the notch has a flat cut and in the other the notch is rounded.  Each of these two designs has been flipped upside down so that the notch is pointing up.

STL Import View

Previously, all we had was the view of the part in its pristine form.  Just as the .STL or .CREATION was designed.  This tells us NOTHING about the final print when it comes to either needing supports or how those supports will be printed.  That all changes with Version 1.0.24 of the Cubify Client.

.Cube File View

If we create a .Cube file and then load it into the Cubify Client, we now see the parts in two different colors.  The YELLOW represents the part and the RED represents the support materials.  We can instantly see that both design and orientation make a difference when it comes to needing supports.

Flat Notch vs. Rounded Notch

Let's first compare the DESIGN decision to use a FLAT notch vs. a ROUNDED notch.  Notice how must more dense the support material is in the FLAT notch.  The ROUNDED notch still requires some support; but, it is less dense, which should make it easier and cleaner to remove.

But, the real difference comes in using a different orientation!

Orientation Support Comparison

Notice that it does not matter how we designed the notch if we flip the part upside down to print it.  Neither design needs support in the notch area.  The only potential need for support is at the side holes.

Side Hole Support
That is NOT a lot of support in that hole!  Had the supports been massive or filled the hole completely, then we might come to the conclusion that support is absolutely required.  But, in fact, I'd be willing to print the flipped parts WITHOUT supports or raft just to see if I can get by with it.

I hope you can see how useful this new feature is going to be to save you (1) material, (2) time and (3) aggravation.  :) 


  1. That will be useful. If the software has the ability to show supports/rafts now (when importing .cube files) it'd be even more useful if we could see the supports before creating said .cube file to begin with.

    1. Until the file is processed (which creates the Cube file) the supports are unknown. However, in the conversion software that comes with my RapMan, you are shown the supports before saving the final output file.

      Either way, the time consuming part is in the processing. Saving and loading are negligible steps. It's just good to be able to finally see the supports before the REALLY time consuming operation (printing) takes place. :)

  2. Another benefit of opening the Cube file in the Cube Software (as it is now called) is to see where on the print plate the part(s) will print.

    I have found that although I may have moved a part around on the print plate using the translate sliders, this may not be its position in the final Cube file.

    It appears that the Build function centres the entire print on the print plate. For asymmetric parts, or when printing multiple parts, this is not always easy to figure out. It is also not easy to know where the Build function will put supports and/or rafts if they are enabled.

    By using the Top view in the Cube Software I can see exactly where I need to apply the CubeStick Glue. (I don't like having to apply glue to entire print plate if I don't have to.)